Animal fighting legislation gets boost

Published on July 01, 2004
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The AVMA will increase efforts to promote the passage of the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (H.R. 1532/S. 736). The Executive Board has voted to reclassify the act from "support" status to "active pursuit of passage." The AVMA deems the legislation a high priority and will devote considerable time and energy to see that it becomes law.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition enforcement Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act to strengthen enforcement of provisions related to animal fighting. Specifically, the legislation would amend the act to increase the imprisonment penalty for animal fighting violations from one year to two years; make it unlawful to sell, buy, transport, or deliver in interstate or foreign commerce a knife, gaff, or other sharp instrument used in a bird-fighting venture; revise enforcement provisions; and permit euthanasia for an animal in extreme pain. The use of the Internet in animal fighting is also covered under the act.

The Legislative Advisory Committee made the recommendation for reclassifying AVMA's support for the legislation because it is consistent with AVMA's position on animal fighting and also because of the potential transmission risk of highly pathogenic avian disease, such as exotic Newcastle disease and avian influenza, between fighting gamecocks and the commercial poultry industry. This risk was sited in a recent letter from the Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to Utah Sen. Robert Bennett.